Between Semesters: Nemesis or Blessing?

Finals are over. Finally. And now the waiting starts. As a 2L, it’s so much easier than it was as a 1L. I know I’m probably not going to flunk out. I know I will not be a law school statistic. I also know that the curve will mean that I may not get the grades I deserve (this can help me or hurt me). I also know for 1L’s that this waiting can be torture.

My 1L year I didn’t want to apply for summer internships, work on my resume, or ANYTHING until after grades were posted. The first two weeks of classes before grades were out were torture. I wasn’t alone in my attitude. It also permeated my section. I have heard that it still resonates with the current group of 1L’s.

Law School is a time of fear and stress and. . . An unexpected result of law school is how you will change. As an non-traditional law student, I thought I was already well-formed. In some areas I was. I am strongly honest. I have high ethics. I will not get tempted by money, because I know that money can be fleeting and money IS NOT GOD! On the other hand, I am less patient. I want to get to the point. My southern way of slowly doing things, of polite conversation before business, of trying to phrase something gently, is slipping to the wayside. Lawyers are often not gentile or even polite. And in spite of all that, it’s what I want to do with my life.

Somethings have not changed. I still want to open my own practice. I still want to help clients get some semblance of justice in their life. I also know I can’t help everyone or I will never pay off my loans. That’s another change law school has wrought. Before law school I would teasingly say I was going to be the poorest attorney ever, because I’d do so much pro bono work. I no longer say that. There are those I will help, either as pro bono or “low bono” work. I know that. I’ve volunteered too much in my life to stop now. But I know that I want to pay my loans. I want to own a home (which will not happen until after those pesky loans are paid). I want to continue to donate money to charity. So there has to be a balance between paid work and pro bono work. Yes, I am a proponent for good works.

So 1l’s, keep your chin up. The majority of you will make it and will be hear this Spring and next Fall. Some of you might fall by the wayside because you realize law is not for you. Some of you will transfer to other law schools. But by and large, those of you in your class are on the road to justice together.

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